O'Grady brother bolsters Shimano Dream Team for Crocodile Trophy

Darren OGrady

Darren OGrady (Image credit: John Flynn)

Adelaide's Darren O'Grady, a 2006 Crocodile Trophy stage winner, is busy packing his bags for Tropical North Queensland after being named as a last-minute inclusion in the Coopers - Shimano Dream Team for this year's race running from October 21 to 30.

O'Grady, a 39 year-old fencing contractor, made the most of an opportunity on a pancake-flat corrugated dirt road from Chillagoe to Mount Mulgrave in the 2006 Crocodile Trophy, when he set off on a triumphant breakaway move.

Looking at his chances in the coming weeks, O'Grady said, "There's a lot more competition, there'll be less opportunities this year. The Merida Flight Centre team will be gunning for it, and Craig Gordon [2006 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Champion] has indicated in no uncertain terms why he's coming."

Although a little "underdone" by his own standards going into the race, O'Grady knows from experience not to push too hard too early in the 1,300km contest spanning 10 days.

Perhaps he will draw some inspiration from his younger brother Stuart's 2007 Paris-Roubaix victory as he tackles Australia's answer to the cobblestones, the corrugations of the legendary "Battle Camp Road" between Laura and Cooktown.

"The road to Cooktown is just mind-bogglingly hard at the end of a race like that," O'Grady said. "I remember the last time we did that we were in the front group, basically just hunting for the finish line."

O'Grady will join forces with team leader Kai Hundertmarck, a double stage winner in 2005 and former pro road cyclist turned Ironman triathlete.

"Realistically, the Coopers - Shimano Dream Team is an outside chance for the overall, but we'll definitely be gunning for stage wins," said Team Manager Christie Valentine. "It's great to have Darren onboard with the team as he knows the race, is comfortable being in the outback and doesn't complain when the conditions conspire against us."

Last year's race was won by Italy's former World Cup Champion Mauro Bettin.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.